This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 88-89The previous thread has passed 500 comments. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 12345678910111213141516, 17, 18.

Spoiler Warning: this thread is full of spoilers. With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13. More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it’s fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” unless you use rot13.

New Comment
963 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:
Some comments are truncated due to high volume. (⌘F to expand all)Change truncation settings

Public Service Announcement: If you feel strongly affected by chapter 89, and do not yet have first aid training, consider googling a local class and signing up. Some sudden deaths can be prevented, and it might need to be by you. Make the most good out of your horror and revulsion.

8ChristianKl
As far as teachable lessons go, Harry didn't get first aid training for his first aid kid. If Eliezer wanted to maximize the amount of the impact of this lesson he could let a healer tell Harry that he didn't use the kit to maximum effect in an upcoming chapter.

First aid kit as curiosity stopper. Treating it as more a checkmark on a list of things responsible people have, and not an item that causally interacts with the world.

6sixes_and_sevens
One of the first things we got taught in first aid was "there's nothing in a first aid kit that can save a life". This probably needs a bunch of caveats to make it absolutely factually true, but it's worth generally bearing in mind. (My actual first aid kit includes a pair of trauma shears, which I think could save a life in a non-negligible amount of emergency circumstances.)
0somervta
Well, most of the point of first aid kits (and first aid training) in serious situations is stabilization, which could indeed save lives in the situation where a ambulance/professional is in the way.

And thus, Hermione Jean Granger was permenantly sacrificed in a ritual which manifested Harry Potter.

8Alsadius
Clever, but I just can't bring myself to upvote it.
4Ritalin
You know, that is way funnier than it has any right to be.
0[anonymous]

This is a very powerful demonstration of how the sudden death of a single loved friend affects one more than the horrible, slow torture to death of a thousand strangers in Azkaban.

This applies to Harry - but I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about myself and all the readers now expressing their pain on reddit.

A single death is felt differently from a thousand deaths. At least in fiction...

[-]Benya150

Y'know, I like the new, true version of Ch. 85, the one where Harry fails to get a phoenix -- but I also really liked the original version (which, remember, Eliezer wrote as a stand-in because he couldn't get the true version finished in time), where Harry, compromising with himself, made a resolution that for now he would try to win without killing people -- but if anybody died [by his opponent's hands], not just a PC, but any arbitrary bystander (he'd been thinking about how Batman's ethics only come off as good if you don't care about all the NPCs the Joker kills), the gloves would come off.

I'd kind of hoped that Harry would be able to actually go through without a death, and failing that I kind of expected that it would be some random NPC's death that would change things -- but I don't think that would actually have worked to justify Harry's future actions to the reader. [ETA: I guess buybuydavis is right too that, even more importantly, it wouldn't have worked as a statement against death.] It really does need to be somebody we (the readers) care about in order to carry even a fraction of the emotional impact that death should carry.

(Tangent: As a preteen, I read 2001 up to th... (read more)

5buybuydandavis
I don't think it works if what EY is making a statement against Death, which it seems to me he is. Rationality is all fine and dandy, but I think it's window dressing on the main theme of the value of Life and the horror of Death. The best, the brightest, the most loved, the least deserving of it will die with all the rest. So, Hermione dies.
4DanielLC
There was one thing that annoyed me about this. Harry wasn't just fighting Voldemort. He barely even cares about Voldemort. He's fighting everything bad about the universe. If he was truly willing to take the gloves off after the first death, then he would have done so after about half a second.
2Benya
Actually, this is the aftermath of the Taboo Tradeoffs arc (i.e., the Wizengamot trial): yes, Harry doesn't care about Voldemort, but he does have a very specific enemy at this point -- the person who tried to murder Draco and send Hermione to Azkaban (or at least the second, if it was Quirrell -- of course I expect it was Quirrellmort, but Harry only thinks of Quirrell as one of a range of different suspects). And by the time of Ch. 85, to Harry's knowledge, nobody has yet died in that particular war.
0buybuydandavis
I don't think Harry's target is a person at all, but Death itself. That's the enemy. Harry would actually save Voldemort from Death if he could.
4Benya
If we're talking about the story as a whole, sure. If we're talking specifically about the two incarnations of Ch. 85 (which I was), let me quote: Sure, Harry doesn't actually want to kill that unknown enemy -- it is also Ch. 85 where he thinks about how killing Voldemort would make the people of a hundred million years into the future terribly sad -- but he very much does think in terms of a human target at this point in time who he wants to win against.
0buybuydandavis
Per chapter 90, I don't see him thinking about his human enemy, I see him obsessing about defeating Death to save Hermione.
1MugaSofer
Wait, that got replaced?
0Benya
Yup. It was, apparently, a placeholder because Eliezer didn't manage to write the stuff about the phoenix in time for the update (and didn't want to leave the fic hanging on that gloomy note for a long time).
1MugaSofer
Great, now I have to go re-read it. Shame, I quite liked that chapter, actually.
6Ritalin
Depends on the circumstances. For example, if you're inflicting the deaths yourself; I read somewhere that the Nazis used gas chambers rather than the bullets they used at first, because killing unarmed, unresisting individuals of all ages and genders by the dozen disturbed the soldiers. Or when you don't know the people yourself, but their disappearance impacts and cripples your world.
2NancyLebovitz
I've read the same thing about Nazi soldiers, and also that they couldn't handle another early method of killing-- driving prisoners around in closed trucks with the exhaust fed into the back compartment. It's not that the thousands have no impact, it's that one person can make a much larger emotional difference. I've also heard that for soldiers, seeing one more death or injury can be the tipping point into PTSD.
-2sebmathguy
Am I missing something, or does this follow trivially from PTSD being binary and the set of possible body counts being the natural numbers?
4JoshuaZ
The thing is that PTSD is really not that binary, like many mental illnesses, it has a wide range of symptoms and severity levels. What Nancy is talking about is how one death can push one drastically over, skipping much of the middle range where it might be ambiguous if one had symptoms severe enough to be diagnoseable. (Disclaimer, while I've heard the same sort of things NancyLebovitz is talking about, I'm not aware of any studies actually supporting this.)
2sebmathguy
Got it. I was previously having difficulty making that belief pay rent.
-3Alsadius
The people in Azkaban are guilty of crimes, usually pretty terrible ones. There's a difference between the innocent and the guilty. Edit: For clarity, I'm not saying that they deserve to be tortured to death for their crimes. Azkaban is unnecessary and wildly disproportionate. It's an issue of priorities - I'm going to feel bad for the victims of murder and work to help them quite a lot earlier than I'll do the same for the perpetrators of murder.
9RolfAndreassen
From canon, and from what nearly happened to Hermione, it is clear that one can be sent to Azkaban while innocent.
1Alsadius
Of course. However, it's not the usual outcome. Even given that, Azkaban is certainly worse than Hermione's death, speaking intellectually. But it doesn't hit as hard emotionally.
6ygert
If there are thousands of inmates at Azkaban, and the wizarding justice system is not always absolutely correct, even if then are only wrong a percent or two of the time, there are tens or even maybe hundreds of innocent prisoners of Azkaban. So, "not the usual outcome", is irrelevant, what matters is the numbers. But of course it doesn't hit as hard, and that is precisely because of the numbers. It is a bug in the human brain that one innocent person being ripped to death in front of you hurts a lot more than tens of innocent people being tortured to death out of sight, especially surrounded by thousands more people also being tortured to death who some say have lower moral priority.
-1Alsadius
I don't think it's the numbers so much as it is the familiarity. Were I familiar with any one Azkaban inmate, assuming the wizarding justice system is at least decently effective, I'd probably say "Yeah, this guy is probably guilty. Sucks to be him, but he should really avoid killing people next time". That is not what I think when I see Hermione suffering. Even knowing that there's probably several Hermiones in there, not knowing which ones they are makes empathizing with them a lot harder.
1Qiaochu_Yuan
Based on how Hermione's trial went, this probably isn't a safe assumption. Many of the people in Azkaban may have just pissed off the wrong person (e.g. Lucius).
0Alsadius
I doubt most trials are decided by political pressure. There's a few, but the typical trial is done in an ordinary way, with no bias more malicious than a prosecutor wanting to avoid looking stupid and the judge wanting to get done in time for lunch.

When I first read the end of the chapter, my thought was that Quirrell hadn't arranged the incident; he had thought it was a "surprisingly good day" which suggested to me that he hadn't expected the troll.

After reading comments, I became less sure about that; someone suggested that Quirrell might have simply not intended for Harry to be at the scene and in danger. This seems plausible, but one thing still makes it difficult for me to believe it was Quirrell.

The troll had been enchanted against sunlight:

someone had enchanted the troll against sunlight before using it as a murder weapon and might also have strengthened it in other ways.

And Harry transfigured part of the troll:

Harry visualized a one-millimeter-wide cross-section through the enemy's brain, and Transfigured it into sulfuric acid.

But before, it was stated that Quirrell could not charm something that Harry had Transfigured:

Professor Quirrell could not cast spells on something Harry had Transfigured, for that would be an interaction, however slight, between their magics, but -

For Quirrell to have been behind this, I can see only two possibilities: 1) Harry can transfigure something Professor Quirrell ... (read more)

Harry transfigured the inside of the troll. Maybe Quirrell only needed to enchant the outside?

2ikrase
Or that the enchantment is somewhat less fixed to the body of the troll? Or Harry and Quirrel might be wrong about how their magic can touch? Harry never exactly knew the boundaries. He has only the sense of doom and the resonance from the Avadakedvra - Patronus interaction.

He touched it. In chapter 56 or 55, I forget which, Harry had to wear a glove to ride the room that Quirrell enchanted. In chapter 89, he picks up the troll by the ear.

4ikrase
I don't think that Harry actually knows for sure that he couldn't touch the broom.
1vericrat
Good point, I missed the picking the troll up by the ear entirely.
2maia
Oh snap. I didn't even notice that problem. There is a third possibility: Dumbledore brought in the troll to guard the Stone (or other object), as in canon, and he was the one who cast the spells to protect it. I'm unsure about this, because it seems unusually violent for Dumbledore.
4Izeinwinter
In canon "Troll" was defense layer number.. 5? Anyone in that deep can fairly be considered to be asking for it. If this is the case, the naive reading of events is that it got loose because someone was cracking the defenses...
4ygert
In canon, there were two different trolls: One that got in and attacked Hermione, and one that was guarding the stone. Two totally different trolls, although many have noted that both were supplied by Quirrell. (And actually, because of this it has become fanon that Quirrell has a talent in dealing with trolls. (Although that Quirrell is a very different person from HPMOR's Hansonian Quirrell, so don't read to much into this with regards to HPMOR.))
7Desrtopa
I believe that Quirrell actually stated this in canon. When he admitted in the chamber which held the Philosopher's Stone that he was the one who had supplied the troll for the defenses, he said he had a knack for dealing with them, or something to that effect.
3vericrat
Why would Dumbledore enchant the troll against sunlight if it was going to be in the third-floor corridor all along?
[-]gwern170

To defend it against anyone with a sunlight-generating spell or who has some acorn potion handy.

0MugaSofer
In fact, isn't there such a spell used in Canon?
2gwern
There's 'Lumos' but it's never mentioned as a dead-useful defense against trolls so presumably isn't as good as real sunlight or a sunlight-generating spell.
0MugaSofer
No, I could swear there was an actual ... maybe in one of the movies? EDIT: I was thinking of this

Hermione's cheeks were going even redder. "You're really evil, did anyone ever tell you that?"

"Miss Granger," Professor Quirrell said gravely, "it can be dangerous to give people compliments like that when they have not been truly earned. The recipient might feel bashful and undeserving and want to do something worthy of your praise.

[-]75th390

Hermione's lips were moving, just a tiny bit but they were moving.

"your... fault..."

Time froze. Harry should have told her not to talk, to save her breath, only he couldn't unblock his lips.

Hermione drew in another breath, and her lips whispered, "Not your fault."


"Of course it was my fault. There's no one else here who could be responsible for anything."

"One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, 'Why weren't you prepared?' And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won't ever forgive me -"

9jefftk
(http://hpmor.com/chapter/6)

I'm sad now.

Those of you who didn't read canon before reading this, there's a corresponding incident in the first book which I think would add to your understanding of this incident. Quirrell sneaks a troll into the school, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione are improbably able to defeat it using the first thing the Weasleys try here (smacking it with its own club). The difficulty level of that encounter was clearly calibrated to the characters' strengths in a way common in heroic stories and I think Eliezer was deliberately subverting that expectation. (He's made this point in the sequences on a few occasions - something about how it's allowed for Nature to just throw problems at humanity that are too hard for it - although I can't find a quote at the moment.) I particularly appreciated how Harry only used tools that he had deliberately prepared in advance, sometimes way in advance, e.g. the healer's kit.

I also wonder where Fawkes was while this was happening. You'd think he would've found his way to either Harry or Hermione.

I have a mild complaint about all these cameos. Some of the names of the people who end up getting cameos don't fit in the Harry Potter universe to my ear and they stick out really noticeably. One of the first things I'd do if I were hypothetically rewriting HPMoR for publication is to come up with a consistent and meaningful naming scheme.

[-]taelor100

The difficulty level of that encounter was clearly calibrated to the characters' strengths in a way common in heroic stories and I think Eliezer was deliberately subverting that expectation.

I think it's ironic that at the begining of the update, Harry refers to Filch as a "low-level random encounter whom [he] often breezed past wearing his epic-level Deathly Hallow".

5CAE_Jones
I haven't read much Hary Potter fanfiction, but what I have, including HPMoR, tends to up the difficulty considerably, and makes this apparent by having the characters use the same trick that Ron knocked out the canon troll with to little or no effect. (In this case, Eliezer made it clear in Quirrel's first class that that trick would be dreadfully unlikely to work.) Is this a trend in HP fanfiction (in which case, it seems to fall into the class of "taking HP fanfiction tropes and doing them better" that Eliezer's been following)? Or is my sample size too small?
3Qiaochu_Yuan
I think most Harry Potter fanfiction doesn't have a difficulty level as such. Your sample is probably extremely unrepresentative.

I predict that it will be revealed that Quirrell or a closely related entity has been abusing Harry on and off throughout his life, to try and make him into a Dark Lord.

He can go to Harry's house like the time he played Father Christmas.

Obliviated memories leave residue, which is how in Chapter 88 the twins remembered that they could find people, in the castle, but couldn't remember how.

In the first chapter, Harry noticed that he believed in magic.

some part of Harry was utterly convinced that magic was real

In chapter 16, Harry is almost reminded of something when he looks at Quirell, but can't remember what. And when Quirrell is first introduced, Harry ominously recognizes him

"Professor?" Harry said, once they were in the courtyard. He had meant to ask what was going on, but oddly found himself asking an entirely different question instead. "Who was that pale man, by the corner? The man with the twitching eye?"

"Hm?" said Professor McGonagall, sounding a bit surprised; perhaps she hadn't expected that question either. "That was Professor Quirinus Quirrell. He'll be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts this year at Hogwarts."

"I

... (read more)
[-]Skeeve110

Edit: I just realized that Harry was probably abused almost every night (or day) for some significant period. There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

I don't know about this, for a couple of reasons.

1) If there was a time turner involved, why do the issues with Harry's sleep schedule persist even after he gets to Hogwarts and gains a time-turner of his own?

2) If someone spent a two-hour period of time abusing Harry and then time-turnering it away every day, wouldn't he get tired two hours early nstead of two hours late? That is to say, wouldn't his sleep cycle appear to be 22 hours instead of 26?

6loserthree
For the same reason his response persist even when the abuse no longer does: he's been conditioned. It goes the other way. See, while he was being abused for two hours a day that no one else experienced, he was experiencing 26 hour days when everyone else was experiencing 24 hour days. So his body adjusted to that.
1Skeeve
I'm having a little trouble making the timeline work out on this, since one wouldn't be able to notice his sleep issues while the time-turner abusing was ongoing; it would be a consequence that appeared after the fact. It's mentioned in chapter 2 that Harry was in school when he was seven; that could be argued as evidence that his sleep issues hadn't quite manifested at that point, and that he'd been pulled out of school soon after, once they did. But that still leaves a period of three or four years for Harry to readjust to 24 hour days. You'd think Harry and his parents would have at least tried some kind of therapy, if the issue was severe enough to pull him out of school, and in the absence of some kind of reinforcing factor, why wouldn't said therapy at least have made some progress on the issue?
1aausch
The story clearly states Harry's explicit interest in not attending school, so he wouldn't have tried anything to change his sleep pattern for that purpose, and I doubt by the age of 10 he'd found any other important reasons to motivate sleep pattern changing therapy. I also doubt his parents' preferences matter, here, and even if they did prefer he change his habits, I doubt they'd press him into therapy without his explicit, cooperative, interest.

My interpretation is that all of these are symptoms of Harry's dark side (which is the backup copy / horcrux of Voldemort somewhere in him).

There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

This is an intriguing hypothesis, but are you aware that Eliezer also has this condition? I was under the impression that he was working off of his own experiences here and nothing more.

[-]elharo120

I think the simpler "conscious Horcrux inside Harry" theories are ruled out by the sorting hat: "I can tell you that there is definitely nothing like a ghost - mind, intelligence, memory, personality, or feelings - in your scar. Otherwise it would be participating in this conversation, being under my brim."

It is possible that the original, canon Harry has been completely replaced by Voldemort, or that the Horcrux has merged with Harry to form a new single personality. The sorting hat is also explicit that it does not remember previous students such as Tom Riddle as individuals. Therefore it would not notice if HJPEV were in fact Tom Riddle redux. However there's just one person in Harry, not two.

2robryk
The hat talked specifically about objects under its brim. Maybe the horcrux is in some other part of Harry?
-7MugaSofer
3loserthree
I probably heard that at some point; it's been years since this started, now. But I expect better of him than "I get ingrown toenails and ingrown toenails don't get enough attention from the public so I'm going to give my protagonist that problem, too." Also, cannon Harry didn't have the sleep cycle problem. For the most part, there are in-universe reasons for departures from cannon other than, "That was dumb and I'm not writing a story with dumb in it."
1MugaSofer
Really? I hadn't heard that. Where did you see that? Could you link to it?
1Qiaochu_Yuan
I talked to him and he told me.
0MugaSofer
Huh, there's a thing. I guess he just never mentioned it online.
1arundelo
I think I remember seeing him mention it somewhere online but I failed to find it within a few minutes of searching. Edit: See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-24-hour_sleep-wake_disorder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm_sleep_disorder#Normal_circadian_rhythms Edit 2: In the August 27 2013 HP: MoR author's note Eliezer says that he has non-24 sleep disorder (but that he recently fixed it with help from MetaMed).
9roystgnr
This is good evidence right up until you destroy your own case: "Quirrell expected Harry to become a Dark Lord when he spoke with him after the first class and was surprised that Harry aspired to science." Surprise that Harry aspired to science is not what someone who had been regularly communicating with Harry for a decade would experience. On the other hand, you're firing with some fully automatic plot-armor-piercing bullets, there. Quirrell's primary motivation is clearly to groom Harry for some future, so if he waited to start doing so until Harry entered Hogwarts, why did he wait? My favorite theory (Harry is an amnesiac transfer of Voldemort, Quirrelmort is just a horcrux) is only slightly better here. In this case Quirrelmort wouldn't anticipate how much a happy childhood might change Voldemort's personality and wouldn't see the need to remold himself until after that first encounter. That still doesn't explain why he wouldn't even check in on himself for a decade. It took that long for the "mort" part of Quirrelmort to take full control? Or maybe after taking control Quirrelmort knows he only has a year's worth of activity before decaying away, so he chose to save it when he would have extended contact with Harrymort and the latter would be studying magic?
5buybuydandavis
So that Harry would have started to use magic, and could be seen to defeat Voldemort in combat, instead of just be part of some freakish accident that killed Voldemort. Harry "defeats" Voldemort while Voldemort downloads into Harry, transforming himself from Villain to Savior and living happily ever after.
4Ben Pace
Fridge Horror.
2GuySrinivasan
Don't forget (emphasis added)
2buybuydandavis
I don't think so. He's not supposed to use magic on Harry, and his attempts to influence him through their link fail as well.
4loserthree
His inability to influence Harry through the link does not reflect an inability to influence him at all. His influencing the everloving fuck out of Harry in Defense Class. The part where he can't use magic on Harry is more of a poked hole in this theory, though. I can answer it, of course, but not without raising more questions. I'll think about that one.
1MugaSofer
Woah. I don't even care if it's wrong, that's brilliant.
1gwern
It's come up several times before. I believe the usual counterobjection is something like 'that if Harry is being kept up 6 hours later by a Timeturner in order to be abused, then he would fall asleep earlier and have an 18-hour cycle, not the opposite direction'.
2MugaSofer
Ah, but if he adapted, and the abuse stopped, then he would end up with a longer cycle. I think that's the idea, anyway. I seriously doubt that's actually what happened though; not EY's style, somehow.
1gwern
Well, covering up child abuse with a Timeturner seems like Eliezer 'you know what's a good abuse of Obliviation? covering up rape' Yudkowsky's style; it's just the adaptation that is extremely implausible since sleep cycles don't work that way.

This is interesting. From the end of Ch. 89:

Unseen by anyone, the Defense Professor's lips curved up in a thin smile. Despite its little ups and downs, on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day

From Ch. 46, after Harry destroys the dementor:

I must admit, Mr. Potter, that although it has had its ups and downs, on the whole, this has been a surprisingly good day.

Every day that Harry kills something is a good day, of course.

Without endorsing any part of this comment dealing with events which have yet to take place, I congratulate user 75th who receives many Bayes points for this:

http://lesswrong.com/lw/bfo/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/6aih

Hermione is dead. Hermione Granger is doomed to die horribly. Hermione Granger will very soon die, and die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Fare thee well, Hermione Jean Granger. You escaped death once, at a cost of twice and a half your hero's capital. There is nothing remaining. There is no escape. You were saved once, by the will of your hero and the will of your enemy. You were offered a final escape, but like the heroine you are, you refused. Now only death awaits you. No savior hath the savior, least of all you. You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you. You are the cord binding Harry Potter to the Light, and you will be cut, and your blood, spilled by the hand of your enemy, will usher in Hell on Earth, rendered by the hand of your hero.

Goodbye, Hermione. May the peace and goodness you

... (read more)
[-]gwern460

Or alternately, somewhere in the literally thousands and thousands of predictions or claims (I have ~200 in just my personal collection which is nowhere comprehensive) spread across the 20k MoR reviews on FF.net, the >5k comments on LW, the 3650 subscribers of the MoR subreddit, the TvTropes discussions etc etc, someone got something right.

You know perfectly well that one does not get to preach about a single right prediction. He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

[-][anonymous]490

He also predicted that Hat and Cloak was Quirrell, Santa Claus was Dumbledore, and S. was Snape. He considered these predictions blatantly obvious as well. I remember receiving ~13 upvotes for arguing that Quirrell could be ruled out as H&C, so it wasn't as obvious to all of us.

[-]gwern120

All of which were consensus beliefs; do not make the mistake of interpreting upvotes as object-level agreement - you may have received the upvotes for making the anti-Quirrel case well or bringing up some bit that people hadn't remembered or just being funny.

It's a large space, not a binary yes-or-no, so successful predictions are impressive even given a large base. Also I could be prejudiced but MoR is supposed to be solvable god damn it.

Someone was criticized. S/he was right, the critics were wrong. The neural net updating algorithm calls for a nudge in the appropriate direction of "Beware of dismissing those who speak with what you think is too much confidence."

4gwern
No, it doesn't, not out of thousands of predictions of which you selected one post hoc. If I may quote you, our minds do not run on floating point beliefs.
1NancyLebovitz
If 75th's predictions were just luck, wouldn't it be likely for there to be other people who got a smaller number of the predictions right?
2gwern
Yes. If you look through the threads or the PredictionBook entries, there are plenty of people blowing predictions. (A particularly good example was the Wizengamot trial: how would Harry rescue Hermione? The actual solution was 1 of the top 2 or 3 suggestions, but that still implies a lot of people favoriting wrong solutions.)
0Estarlio
Even if 75ths predictions aren't just luck, you don't have enough information to meaningfully update across such a broad reference class. If it's got to overcome the weight of everyone I think is speaking with too much confidence on the other end of the lever, it's not going to move far enough to be noticeable.
3elharo
I update in favor of "user 75th is more experienced in the tropes of enigma fiction." Indeed I would not be at all surprised were I to discover that user 75th writes such fiction him or herself. It similarly wouldn't surprise me if user 75th had gone to the library and checked out and read some of the same 15 books Elizier checked out and read before writing HPMoR. For example, before reading the author's notes on HPMoR I was not familiar with Chekhov's Gun. Now that I am, I am much more likely to catch such a device when it appears in other fiction. I now suspect user 75th is quite familiar with Chekhov's Gun and other standard tricks of this sort of story. 75th picked up on one such trope (one I'm still not familiar with) that signaled that Hermione was heading for death. If there's a general update to be had here, it may go something like this: Before dismissing those who speak with what I think is too much confidence, I need to consider the possibility that their confidence is based on facts or experience I am not aware of. I should probably take five minutes to ask them why they are so confident before dismissing them.
[-]75th350

Ha, you've got me all wrong. I am woefully under-read, particularly in fiction. I get a very small percentage of the references Eliezer makes in Methods; most of the time, I find out that he's borrowed something months (or, let's face it, years) after I read it, only by seeing someone else explicitly point out the reference. I have had my life ruined by TV Tropes, but most of what I'm familiar with there is video games, and not too awfully many of those.

But it's not a matter of picking up on specific tropes, exactly. It's more a matter of getting into the author's head. Of constantly asking "If this were foreshadowing or a setup or a clue, what would be the most effective payoff?" I read Chapter 84, and then, put together with many other quotes from my many rereads of HPMoR ("Nothing really bad ever happens at Hogwarts", "Her life was officially over", etc.), I answered that question with "Hermione will die horribly," then posted how I felt about it.

It's the same deal with my prediction — which I'm far more certain of than I was that Hermione would die horribly — that Nzryvn Obarf xvyyrq Anepvffn Znysbl. I got into an argument with someone o... (read more)

3Alsadius
Re the rot13 bit, I called it that Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq ure based on text evidence before that was revealed, so the idea that it's Obarf has always seemed wrong to me. They can't both have done it, you know?
[-]75th190

Arf, didn't mean to start this again, but here's my usual litany:

Gur bayl rivqrapr jr unir gung Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq Anepvffn vf gung Yhpvhf fnlf Qhzoyrqber gbyq uvz fb. Jr qba'g xabj gur rknpg jbeqf Qhzoyrqber hfrq, naq oheavat fbzrbar nyvir ernyyl qbrfa'g frrz yvxr Qhzoyrqber'f fglyr (nygubhtu V jvyy fnl gung Puncgre 89 vf gur svefg gvzr V'ir gubhtug gur Qhzoyrqber-vf-rivy pebjq zvtug npghnyyl unir fbzrguvat fhofgnagvir gb jbex jvgu). Zrnajuvyr:

  1. Nzryvn'f qrsnhyg gubhtug jura eriratr pbzrf gb zvaq vf "Fbzrbar jbhyq ohea sbe guvf."
  2. Anepvffn'f fvfgre xvyyrq Nzryvn'f oebgure.
  3. Nzryvn vf gur bar jub fcrnxf hc va gur Jvmratnzbg, gryyvat Qhzoyrqber "Qba'g rira guvax nobhg vg" jura Qhzoyrqber pbafvqref pbasrffvat gb Anepvffn'f zheqre.

Jura V bayl xarj nobhg #1, V jebgr vg bss nf n cbffvoyr pbvapvqrapr. Ohg gura crqnagreevsvp cbvagrq bhg #2 gb zr, naq V fgebatyl hctenqrq gur ulcbgurfvf'f cebonovyvgl. Gura yngre #3 unccrarq, naq V orpnzr nf pregnva nf V nz abj.

And if that's not as close as you can actually come to a Bayesian updating process when reading a fiction book, where the only experiment you can perform is "Wait for more chapters and then read them", I would love to learn what's legitimately closer.

2Alsadius
1) Gryyvat fbzrbar gung lbh qvq fbzrguvat frrzf yvxr sne fgebatre rivqrapr gb zr guna hfvat n fvzvyne jbeq bapr. 2) Erzrzore, gur oheavat unccrarq evtug nsgre Noresbegu jnf xvyyrq, fb Qhzoyrqber'f zbgvir vf nyzbfg pregnvayl fgebatre guna Nzryvn'f. 3) Nyy guvf erdhverf vf na nyyl pybfr rabhtu gb xabj jung lbh'er guvaxvat naq gb trg lbh gb onpx qbja. V qba'g qbhog gung Nzryvn xabjf nobhg vg, V whfg qba'g guvax fur jnf gur bar jub crefbanyyl qvq vg. Tvira gung Obarf naq ZpTbantnyy ner(V guvax) gur bayl BBGC zrzoref va gur ebbz ng gur gvzr, vg'f irel jrnx rivqrapr - gur cebonovyvgl gung fur'f fcrnxvat hc nf na nyyl vf nyzbfg nf uvtu nf gur cebonovyvgl gung fur'f fcrnxvat hc nf gur thvygl cnegl. Lbhe gurbel vf abg penml, ohg vg'f yrff cebonoyr guna gur Qhzoyrqber gurbel fb sne nf V pna gryy.
3pedanterrific
Amelia Bones isn't a member of the Order of the Phoenix. One wonders why she would even know about it at all, if she had nothing to do with it.
375th
Well, I think Lucius probably made sure a long time ago that everyone knew what Dumbledore (supposedly) said to him. I didn't get the feeling from that scene in the Wizengamot that Dumbledore-killing-Narcissa was any kind of a secret idea that people were just then finding out about. This does rather change my view of some of the peripheral details, though. Previously, one possibility I pictured was Dumbledore restraining Amelia from her vengeance until Aberforth died, then relenting. I knew Amelia Bones wasn't in the OotP, and I knew she felt distaste at Dumbledore's softness, but somehow I never completely drew the conclusion that she wouldn't care one whit about what Dumbledore said or thought, and therefore probably wouldn't have cared if he had tried to restrain her. Perhaps more likely, then, is the other way I pictured it: that Amelia couldn't get to Narcissa by herself, and after Aberforth's death, Dumbledore actively approached Amelia and said "Okay, I'm ready to help. I'll be the ward-breaker, you do the deed."
5pedanterrific
Whoops, looks like you're right, the accusation was public knowledge:
3ChristianKl
I think you miss that this is a work of fiction that has an author. Think about why the author was motivated to make certain choices instead of thinking why the characters were motivated.
0Alsadius
That is actually the other reason that I believe as I do. It seems like a much more interesting storytelling decision for my theory to be correct than for the competitor theory to be.
275th
How is it more interesting storytelling for the guy everyone thinks did it to have done it, as opposed to "Here's a puzzle and the clues to figure it out"?
0Alsadius
Because it was a puzzle for the first what, 80 chapters? We're getting close to the end of the story as of about two arcs ago, it's time for puzzles to get solved. it's not an interesting enough puzzle to justify a double twist, IMO.
175th
You think it's not an interesting puzzle because you think it's not a puzzle at all. :) And wouldn't it only be a double-twist if Dumbledore did do it? If Amelia Bones did it it would just be a single twist.
2Alsadius
Baseline assumption: Team Death Eater is slandering Dumbledore when they claim he burned Narcissa Malfoy alive. Twist: Nope, Dumbledore actually did it. Double Twist: Or it was some random lady who used the word "burn" once. You know, whatever. One of these twists is revealing of important information about a main character, future motivation for interesting developments(Harry being forced to choose between Draco and Dumbledore over the promise, or Draco having to forgive his mother's murderer), a subversion of our expectations, and is reasonably predictable from evidence dropped in advance. One of them is irrelevant and a complete cop-out of all the character development built into the original twist. Take a guess which one I assume is more likely to be true. Amelia killing Narcissa would be the sort of thing M Night Shyamalan would write.
275th
If that were indeed an accurate summary of the situation, I would agree with you. I did agree with you, when that was the only potential clue I knew of. All three major clues would be circumstantial in real life, but when you step out a level and see that Eliezer writes this story, choosing every word we read, it's clear that he wants us to figure out that Amelia has something more to do with Narcissa's death. It's just as important if Dumbledore didn't do it as it is if he did; it's another piece of evidence that he's not a huge evil hypocrite. Which many HPMoR readers seem to need. I think it'll be pretty interesting when Harry finds out that Amelia did it; Amelia was going for painful revenge, while Harry is already hemming and hawing over whether Dumbledore deserves to be an enemy if he did do it. Harry is much more likely to declare Amelia his enemy, and Amelia is much more likely to declare Harry her enemy. Sounds to me like Amelia would be the biggest subversion of your expectations! Given the several conversations I've had on this topic, I'm pretty sure that Amelia's guilt will be a subversion of most people's expectations. In fact, I and possibly pedanterrific may be the only ones in the entire readership whose expectations aren't subverted. I really don't understand why everyone thinks the three clues I identified are worth so much less than the clue-and-a-half we have about Dumbledore. And this is why I didn't actually mean to start this conversation again; this is the second or possibly third time that I've pushed someone to declare Eliezer a bad writer if my hypothesis proves true, who will now actually feel that way when it is proven true, where they probably would have just said "Huh!" before, or maybe even thought it was cool. I just don't get it. I don't understand people's reluctance to believe this, to step outside the text and realize that these are purposely written clues. Maybe it's because I'm acting all certain again; maybe perceived ov
5Desrtopa
As someone who takes clues in the form of literary convention, extrapolation of authorial intent, etc. on a regular basis, I just think you're really reaching.
7gjm
As a general principle, it seems to me that most of us, most of the time, are really bad at recognizing the extent to which other people, even ones who are reasonably honest, sane and intelligent, can reach different conclusions from our own. This is a large part of why political and religious discussions get so overheated. What's not so clear to me is how far this is because so many people are so bad at thinking, and how far it's because the available evidence often really is that ambiguous. Naively it seems as if, for most questions that are in principle resolvable empirically, the totality of the available evidence should end up pointing very clearly one way or another, so persistent divergences must indicate either failures in thinking methods or something like confirmation bias where different people effectively see very different subsets of the evidence. (Both, alas, very plausible.) But given that even very intelligent people trying hard to be rational, with a reasonable knowledge of cognitive biases can end up holding quite different opinions, perhaps there's more real ambiguity than one would naively think. Or perhaps it's just that no human being is really "very intelligent"; the most we ever achieve is "very intelligent relative to the appalling baseline of human stupidity, and still really pretty stupid". ... But I digress; in the present case it seems fairly clear that there just isn't more than, say, 10:1 evidence for Dumbledore over Bones or vice versa. [EDITED some hours after posting, to fix a minor ambiguity I hadn't noticed.]
575th
Maybe not 10:1, no. But one thing that does seem to have been lacking in all the dissents from my theory is any textual clues pointing to anyone else. Sometimes the people who object have harebrained ideas, like the person on Reddit who said that Regulus Black was a more likely suspect than Amelia Bones. Sometimes, they're committed that Dumbledore did it. But so far as I can tell — and please, please, please tell me if I'm missing anything — the only evidence for Dumbledore's guilt is 1. Lucius says that Dumbledore told him he did it. 2. Narcissa's death represented a strategic victory for the side of the war Dumbledore led. 3. Narcissa's death was subsequent to Aberforth's death. To me, that is what Eliezer does — information he explicitly gives us and points to and puts blinking lights around — to set the default starting point for the mystery. That is the baseline, boring, standard theory. The Amelia clues I keep bringing up, though, are different. I may do this completely wrong, but it is written: You can see Amelia make a "burn" reference, or say that she hates Bellatrix for killing her brother, or speak up in the Wizengamot, and say "That is some really, really circumstantial evidence." And in-universe, in the story, that's absolutely true. You could never justly convict someone in the real world on that evidence alone. But Eliezer wrote those lines. The same brain that created the Narcissa mystery in the first place also made these explicit decisions: "Amelia Bones thinks of burning for revenge. Amelia Bones's brother was killed by Narcissa's sister. Amelia Bones will be the one to speak up at Dumbledore about Narcissa's death." It seems to me that the Eliezer who believes that Amelia killed Narcissa is way more likely to make those three not-binary decisions that way than the Eliezer who believes that Dumbledore or someone else did it. Pfah. I'm no good at this. Eliezer, if you're reading this and I'm right, I'd like to cash in those Bayes Points
2Alsadius
And yet, textual analysis of the same sort is exactly what led me to the Dumbledore theory. I wrote off Draco's comment as propaganda, and then Dumbledore's "They learned not to mess with our families" line clued me in that he did it. The line is too on-point for anything else - certainly more so than any of the Bones evidence. His motive is better, his textual clues are clearer, and he explicitly said that he did it. Doesn't a confession count for anything any more? I agree with your analytical methods. I just think you're misapplying them egregiously.
275th
Saying "They learned not to mess with our families" with a stone cold look on his face is what you'd expect Dumbledore to do whether or not he killed Narcissa. The statement is a simple fact. The memory of Aberforth's death and mere knowledge of Narcissa's seems to me plenty sufficient to produce that line and that look. Harry has even explicitly thought that Dumbledore has acted consistent with either possibility. I grant that that thought was more about the "Only a fool would say 'Yea' or 'Nay' " line, but if Harry thinks the line you mentioned is evidence of guilt, he has failed to think it where we can hear him, even when he was thinking through this entire issue. Maybe, and yet the deed is still out of character for him, where it's not nearly as much for Amelia, and Amelia's motive is plenty good, given that Bellatrix was too powerful to attack directly. Such as they are, they're more explicit and blatant and obvious, yes. That just means it's a crappy mystery if you're right. I know I always say "Not everything that is mysterious to the characters is supposed to be mysterious to us", but that's more about things where we're supposed to use our enhanced knowledge of canon or alternate POVs, where it takes deliberate suspension of learning or blatant failures of reading comprehension to keep from admitting the truth. Not like this issue, that's obviously supposed to be a mystery that will be revealed later. Says Lucius. Maybe Dumbledore said he did it, or maybe he used weasel words to lead Lucius to that belief without lying, or maybe he admitted some involvement without saying he cast the spell that killed her. The fact is, Dumbledore had a vested interest in the bad guys’ believing that he did it; therefore, any alleged confessions made by Dumbledore to the bad guys should be treated with suspicion. EDIT: As a gesture of goodwill, let me post the best evidence I've seen that Dumbledore might have killed Narcissa, that I just now thought of and haven't seen
2Sheaman3773
An interesting thought, and one that I had not considered in this light. And yet, right afterwards: This seems to make it clear to me that it is not that Dumbledore thought that he would never kill, and then Voldemort's war changed that, and he killed. It's that he thought that he should never kill, and then Voldemort himself became the exception, changed the rules so that he should kill Voldemort. At least, it is an alternate possibility.
0linkhyrule5
There is, of course, the Third Option. Dumbledore did it, but he did not do it personally. If Dumbledore manipulated Bones into murdering Narcissa, then we would have a universe where both Dumbledore and Bones would be emotionally affected by her death, where Bones would not want Dumbledore to take the legal blame and where Dumbledore would willingly take the (informal) blame.
275th
I don't think Amelia Bones is the kind of woman who needs to be manipulated by Dumbledore to get revenge. My similar hypothesis is that Amelia needed Dumbledore's help to infiltrate Malfoy Manor and pull it off. Aberforth's death provided the impetus for Dumbledore to help, but he didn't cast the spell.
0linkhyrule5
Aumann's Agreement Theorem. None of us are rational or observant enough to qualify, unfortunately.
3gjm
The Agreement Theorem is a consider-a-spherical-cow sort of result; its preconditions are absurdly strong. (In particular, the fact that the agents concerned are required not only to be perfect Bayesian reasoners but to have common knowledge that they are so.) But even without Aumann one might hope for better agreement than we actually see...
4wedrifid
Eliezer's overconfidence script is dangerous.
2Sheaman3773
Observation bias. Just because the two people mentioned speak up about it (presumably) so much more than others doesn't mean that they are the only ones who hold this belief. I share this belief with you, for instance. I find those hints to be convincing, narratively speaking.
075th
Which is why I think it a significant possibility that Dumbledore helped in some way. Any of those defenses might be sufficient for a single clue, but you have to take the clues together. Three successive clues (plus her character) pointing to Amelia, and only some words spoken to Lucius that we never saw pointing to Albus (and everything else we know of his character pointing away from him, though I know some would argue that), increase the probability of Amelia's guilt quite a bit more than linearly.
0ikrase
I heard that it was na nppvqragny frys-xvyy ol Anepvffn hfvat Svraqsler ntnvafg fbzr rarzl.
1thomblake
I prefer the theory that qhzoyrqber hfrq svraqsler gb qrfgebl gur qvnel ubepehk jura ur gubhtug gur ubhfr jnf rzcgl, naq gura pynvzrq perqvg sbe anepvffn'f qrngu fb gung ure fnpevsvpr jbhyq abg or zrnavatyrff
1Alsadius
Really? I remember being about eight years old, watching an episode of Power Rangers, and seeing some random no-name tourist drop a camera and the shot lingered on it for about half a second. My instant thought was "Oh, the bad guy is going to be built from a camera", and sure enough it was. They'd never have put that in the episode otherwise, and that was obvious to me at that age.
6ModusPonies
http://xkcd.com/1053/
[-]75th100

He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

I totally get the point of the rest of your comment, but not this sentence. A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here; I've gotten things wrong too, and my original comment in question here was much more about expressing my despair at Chapter 84 than trying to register a prediction for later credit. But I don't see how I had any particular "opportunity to make more than that prediction" that I failed to take, beyond the fact that anyone can make any prediction they feel like any time they feel like it.

[-]gwern200

A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

More or less. Think of it in terms of selection bias: a bunch of people enter a lottery of some sort. After the lottery concludes, the lottery organizer Yliezer Eudkowsky praises the winner, entrant #57, for their deep insights into lotteries and how to guess the winning number and admonishes everyone who told #57 to not get his hopes up. Do we now credit #57 for wisdom and study his numerology? No, not really.

Now, if #57 had simultaneously entered 5 other lotteries and won 3 of them, then we would start wondering what #57's edge is and preorder #57's upcoming book Secrets of the RNG Illuminati. Or even if he had won none of those other lotteries and simply gotten 3 near-misses (5 out of 6 digits right, for example), that would still serve as replication of above-average predictive accuracy and not mere selection effects, and persuade us that something was going on there beyond randomness+post-hoc-selection.

4Vaniver
Mm. I think there's wisdom in the approach of only making public predictions when you're very confident in them, and that may have been the only thing 75th was that confident in. (This isn't a very good approach for calibrating your brain's sense of uncertainty, but it has other benefits.)
3ChristianKl
You can always make public predictions with the confidence that you have on prediction book.
1AndrewH
Could be that 'use 75th' only had the right information and mental algorithms to produce the correct prediction in this one case. Other cases 'user 75th' might not have passed a sufficient threshold of probability to spout out a prediction. Please label me as user 2nd when it comes to predictions of 'user 75th' 's predictive powers.
0ikrase
I doubt, though, that Harry will turn evil due to this.

I am breaking my "only comment on LW if you expect some benefit" rule because I am in a somewhat unique position to comment on this, and I agree with Eliezer that "penalizing people for sounding certain or uppity or above-the-status-you-assign-them can potentially lead you to ignore people who are actually competent". See, I made this update at an earlier time under not-dissimilar circumstances. (In short, I thought ArisKatsaris was making an overconfident prediction about HPMoR, bet against him, and lost.)

An excerpt from my journal, 3/28/2012:

Well, I lost my bet. But what did I learn? Give less probability mass to “some unknown possibility no one has thought of” when the number of people thinking is sufficiently large. Also, arrogant people may be arrogant because they’re usually right, so be careful of the impulse to smack them down.

So, you know, here's a chance to learn a $30 lesson for free, people.

7roystgnr
I wasn't one of the downvotes, but if I'd seen it I would have been. I count 14 sentences in that post which each deserve an upvote, but then a 15th sentence which more than cancels out all the rest, not due to certainty, but due to literal malevolence! But you're awarding Bayes points for a combination of brilliant analysis and anti-goodness motivation? I thought we were anti-UFAI here...
[-]75th100

Ha, interesting take. That last sentence was not actually an endorsement of horrible murderous things happening, it was just my way of saying "Now let's get down to business" about the home stretch of the story.

6roystgnr
Thanks for the clarification! I retract my objections. As for the common criticism, although I'm as adamant as the next person here that "p=1" is impossible without infinite evidence, I don't think that fact demands that every casual conversation must quantify "1 minus epsilon" or even explicitly acknowledge it.
6ChrisHallquist
I went to check on the original comment, saw that I had downvoted it, and now I am embarrassed.
0Eliezer Yudkowsky
Upvoted for embarrassment.
6LucasSloan
Well, in the spirit of sticking your neck out: Harry was sorted into Slytherin. Dumbledore created Harry to be the ideal literary hero. Lord Voldemort doesn't want to conquer the world. Dumbledore is working on way more advance information than everyone else.

Counter-evidence: Harry produces blue and bronze sparks at Ollivander's.

As long as we're sticking necks out, though:

  • Definitely: The horcrux technology uses the ghost phenomenon. Specifically, by causing the violent death of a wizard under controlled conditions (i.e., murder) it's possible to harness the powerful burst of magic to make a ghost of the living caster instead of of the dying victim: a backup copy. A ghost may be static data rather than a running instance, but hey, so is a cryo patient.

  • Definitely: Baby Harry was overwritten with a horcrux-backup-copy of Voldemort. Voldemort didn't plan on childhood amnesia, though, and much of the information was erased (or at least made harder to access consciously). The Remembrall-like-the-Sun indicated the forgotten lifetime as Riddle. Remnants of Voldemort's memories are the reason Harrymort has a cold side; his upbringing in a loving family is the reason he has a warm side.

  • Mere hunch: In chapter 45, the Dementor recognized Harry as Voldemort and addressed him by name: "Riddle".

  • Mere hunch: Voldemort may have chosen to impress his horcrux in a living human in order to try to get around the "static data" pro

... (read more)
8Qiaochu_Yuan
Some of the horcruxes in canon are made from murdering Muggles, though. I don't see anywhere that this happens in Chapter 45.
9monsterzero
Very early in the chapter: "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it. A strange word kept echoing in his mind." And later: "Harry glanced in the Dementor's direction. The word echoed in his mind again. All right, Harry thought to himself, if the Dementor is a riddle, what is the answer? And just like that, it was obvious." Once Harry figures out what Dementors are, he stops being able to hear their "voices", because he no longer sees (hears) them as sentient. But if "the word" was actually coming from the Dementor, I don't know what would've kept everyone else from hearing it.
0LauralH
Nice job!
0buybuydandavis
I think Voldemort sets himself up to move from host to host, and who better to move into, than the hero who saves the world from Voldemort?
0ikrase
Does that mean that both Harry and Quirrel are Voldemort?
4buybuydandavis
Without getting into a tiresome analysis of identity theory, Quirrell is currently almost entirely Voldemort, while Harry has a little of the devil in him.
0Skeeve
Not yet, but that would seem to be a plausible end-game for Quirrelmort.
-2[anonymous]
Well spotted.
2Alsadius
This is canon. To a lesser extent, this is as well.
4LucasSloan
Let me be more specific then. *Dumbledore has had the intention of creating the boy who lived since before Harry's birth and likely, before his parent's marriage. *Dumbledore has access to many, many more prophecies than anyone else and has been using this fact for decades.
2Alsadius
Those are vastly more interesting predictions. Plausible, and it'd be an interesting story if true.
1Alsadius
I stand by my downvote. Not for the prediction, but for the way it was phrased. (That said, if the parts I considered to be melodrama turn out to be literally correct, I will revise it to an upvote)
[-]maia140

Some of the melodramatic parts have already been proven right:

You will die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Both of her legs were eaten by a troll before she died, and as she died, she whispered to Harry, "Not your fault." Check.

You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you.

Check.

Interesting that Harry uses his med pack he bought in anticipation of almost exactly the scenario which played out when he used it, except that Hermione absolves him instead of cursing him.

“One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, ‘Why weren’t you prepared?’ And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won’t ever forgive me—”

The detailed foreshadowing often seems like part of the story, not just as aspect of the story. What is said comes true much more than it should, and in much more detail than it should. "Bitten" is a very specific way to die.

[-]Skeeve160

You know, speaking of foreshadowing...

That very quote led into McGonagall's theory that Harry had suffered some kind of trauma and had it Obliviated. And then there was that business with the Remembrall in chapter 17. I'd have to go back and check for more instances of Harry specifically foreshadowing a future event like this, but more and more I'm beginning to think that Harry has forgotten or locked foreknowledge that's leaking into his subconscious.

But in Chapter 17, McGongall rejects the theory that remembralls detect Obliviation.

“More importantly, why did the Remembrall go off like that?” Harry said. “Does it mean I’ve been Obliviated?”

“That puzzles me as well,” Professor McGonagall said slowly. “If it were that simple, I would think that the courts would use Remembralls, and they do not. I shall look into it, Mr. Potter.” She sighed. “You can go now.”

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

[-]Skeeve110

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

This bothered me as well. It's a mysterious phenomenon that directly relates to Harry's own mental state. He should have been all over that.

2Tripitaka
Harry had forgotten that he was not to use his timeturner in front of other people- a fact which got him a very stern rebuke from Mcgonagall.
6Skeeve
That's plausible, but if so, it seems like a very disproportionate response from the Remembrall; that is assuming that under ordinary circumstances Remembralls light up like they do in canon, which I suppose is not necessarily a given.
1taelor
From what we've seen of Wizard courts, they aren't exactly bastions of prudence and rationality.
5gwern
And we never did hear back from her on that topic, did we?
1ikrase
Could he have forgotten without obliviation?
5Alsadius
Don't go making that second checkmark yet - we're still within the Time-Turner window here. (I'd put it at maybe 2% that he manages to save her - EY doesn't seem the type for cheap copouts like that - but that's still high enough for a bit of bet-heging)

It's not going to happen. You don't hang that much drama on an event if you intend to reverse it quickly, unless you're going for comedy, and comedy doesn't make sense in this context.

That said, if you'd asked me a day ago I would have said that there are too many dangling plot threads surrounding her for the story to do what it just did, so it's probably a good idea to adjust your confidence of predictions based on narrative mechanics appropriately.

3Alsadius
Like I said, very low odds. But Eliezer is a clever guy, he could plausibly figure out some way of bringing her back without tripping off too many narrative bullshit detectors.

It sounds like you might be mistaking Eliezer's role in this, and mistaking your desires for desires we can reasonably assign to Eliezer.

This isn't something that happened to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger, this is something that Eliezer, the author did to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger.

He did it for a reason. He's almost certainly been planning it all along. If it made him sad then it first made him sad quite some time ago. He's not feeling the surprised dismay you have today.

He wanted this.

-4Alsadius
He wanted the words written on the page to be written on the page, yes. That does not, strictly speaking, mean that he wants Hermione to be dead. He's been known to play with our expectations before, after all. Edit: To clarify, this is almost certainly wishful thinking talking, and I acknowledge that. But a guy can dream.
3Alsadius
Edit: I just reread And now...well, I think the odds are below 1%. There's no elegant way to walk that back.
1robryk
Time turners cannot alter anything the user knows about (for some value of `know'), so it would require reenacting this exact scene. So someone would have to simulate Harry's experiences, including the magical event, confuse Harry's patronus as to location of Hermione (or cause Hermione to actually be on scene, albeit invisible), and control the troll, so that it behaved exactly in the way Harry remembers it to have behaved. Also, Dumbledore would need not to tell Harry anything that he couldn't have lied when he said he was responding to the death of a student.
6elharo
I'm betting Hermione is really, really dead (though Harry may yet resurrect her). However, remember that writing a story is often the inverse of reading it. It's like solving a maze by starting from the goal and working backward to the beginning: often much easier. If (big if) Hermione is resurrected and/or not really dead, then Eliezer very likely started from a narrative goal of having Harry see Hermione's horrible but fake/reversible death and then worked backwards from there to make it happen. As readers we have the much tougher task of working forward from the clues to the correct conclusion. That is, Eliezer did not have to figure out how to write himself out of this series of events. He constructed these events to lead to the conclusion he wants.
2Alsadius
The soul releasing seems easy enough to fake, as does Hermione's comment to the Patronus. Hermione being under an invisibiliy cloak near fake-Hermione would do for the Patronus taking Harry to her(though screaming mid-combat would be quite dangerous, even invisible). The hardest part would be creating a fake Hermione sufficiently well to convince both the troll and Harry. Do we know of any magic sufficient to that task? Copying the form can be done, as was done with the Azkaban breakout, but the blood and the talking both seem outside the capabilities of that spell.
4Pavitra
It's not obvious to me how to fake the soul releasing. It was perceived by the magic-sense, not just with the muggle senses.
4NancyLebovitz
Here's a miserable plot possibility. Hermione was concealed, something went wrong, and the feeling of her mind going past was because a number of other things happened, and the concealed Hermione was killed. Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.
2JoshuaZ
This seems unlikely. This would end up sounding a lot like "don't tamper with fate". That sort of thing is very common in time travel stories where someone tries to save someone's life, but it has a massively anti-transhumanist, pro-deathist vibe. I doubt Eliezer would do it.
1NancyLebovitz
I'm assuming that Hermione is going to be brought back somehow, so the implication isn't that you can't fight fate, it's that the world has wildly complicated plot twists.
0Pavitra
This seems unlikely. There was a mention about ghosts being caused by "the burst of magic that accompanied the violent death of a wizard" (or something along those lines -- I don't feel like looking up the exact quote right now.)
3Sheaman3773
Thank you for saying this. I've been hoping someone would make note of this. Don't people remember the fight with the bullies in ch 73? If the mad burst of intellect and magic and etc. was standard, they wouldn't have been able to fake it for even a second. Now, I'm not necessarily saying that the feeling was only because of something fishy going on. I'm just saying that it cannot be the standard.
0aleksiL
Hmm. How about having someone else die in Hermione's place? I don't recall offhand if the death burst was recognizable as Hermione, but otherwise it seems doable. Dumbledore said he felt a student die and only realized it was Hermione once he saw her. You'd need polyjuice for the visual appearance, and either Hermione's presence or a fake Patronus for past-Harry to follow. Hermione is unlikely to go along with the plan willingly sho she'd need to be tricked or incapacitated. Hard to tell which would be easier. Given the last words, Hermione's doppelganger might need to be complicit with the plan. Easy to accomplish if it was Harry, but I think he's too utilitarian for that. He'd need someone loyal but expendable. Lesath would seem to fit the bill, but I wonder if he'd agree to literally die on Harry's command.
1robryk
Either Dumbledore is on it and lied to Harry, or it was a student. Harry seemed to think so, but he was obviously biased by seeing Hermione. Doesn't it wear off after death? Ch92 spoiler: Ur'f nyvir ng qvaare naq ur unf ab gvzr-gheare (Uneel pna'g gnxr bgure crbcyr nybat), fb vg qbrfa'g frrz vg unq unccrarq. Overall, this plan requires at least 2 hard things to happen correctly: identical fake magic burst and getting real Hermione there and screaming or Patronus shenanigans. I disbelieve this strongly.
0maia
That's true, it's still possible. Nonetheless, there is still a scene where Harry watches Hermione die and can do nothing about it. So I'd consider that it checked even if he brings her back / somehow prevents it retroactively.
-1buybuydandavis
Certainty would have been inappropriate whether he turned out to be correct or not, but seeing it here, I took it as a prediction and not a guarantee, and regardless, any mistaken certainty should not be held against the hypothesis anyway.

From Chapter 6:

Harry was examining the wizarding equivalent of a first-aid kit, the Emergency Healing Pack Plus. There were two self-tightening tourniquets. A Stabilisation Potion, which would slow blood loss and prevent shock. A syringe of what looked like liquid fire, which was supposed to drastically slow circulation in a treated area while maintaining oxygenation of the blood for up to three minutes, if you needed to prevent a poison from spreading through the body. White cloth that could be wrapped over a part of the body to temporarily numb pain. Plus any number of other items that Harry totally failed to comprehend, like the "Dementor Exposure Treatment", which looked and smelled like ordinary chocolate. Or the "Bafflesnaffle Counter", which looked like a small quivering egg and carried a placard showing how to jam it up someone's nostril.

From Chapter 89:

"Fuego!" / "Incendio!" Harry heard, but he wasn't looking, he was reaching for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion, pushing it into Hermione's neck at what Harry hoped was the carotid artery, to keep her brain alive even if her lungs or heart sto

... (read more)
6[anonymous]
Huh, reading that quote again it occurs to me that Harry doesn't reach for the oxygenating potion, he reaches for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion. A truly prepared murderer would merely have to replace the syringe with... something else.
3William_Quixote
Man, that's brutal
0[anonymous]
How bad is it for someone's legs to be missing?
[-][anonymous]260

I think I've identified three techniques Eliezer uses to create associations in the readers' minds and promote ideas to their attention.

There's repetition. If you're sensitive to repetition then the repetition will drive you mad. Five false prophets, many uses of Grindelwald's name, and about a zillion instances of the phrase 'the old wizard'. Dumbledore is old, old, old.

There's placing two related ideas side by side. Like Harry wondering how magic could possibly work, then segueing into an 'analogy' to artificial intelligence. (Repeatedly, so it's a twofer.) Or the description of phoenix travel appearing in the same chapter as Harry confronting Dumbledore over Narcissa's death.

And there's the throwaway gag that contains the literal truth. "It's not like I'm an imperfect copy of someone else." "Let me know after it turns out that it was Professor Quirrell who did it."

And, perhaps, "And if you coincidentally crack the secret of immortality along the way, we'll just call it a bonus."

After Chapter 87, I thought it likely that Hermione's primary contribution to the story would be to rediscover the Philosopher's Stone through the application of the scientif... (read more)

What happened to Hermione was shocking and has nearly monopolized the posts in this thread so far.

There's aftermath coming, though, and I'd like to talk about that. Harry is probably in a lot of trouble. Here's a short list of rules violations:

  • He left the Great Hall when specifically warned that doing so would result in expulsion and when he's not allowed to be expelled.
  • He inspired other students to take up arms against their teachers, or their groundskeeper, or against their teachers by way of their teachers' groundskeeper, or something. It probably got even worse after he left.
  • He endangered other students, the twins, even before confronting the troll by way of unsafe broom usage. Point three see, and all that.
  • He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.
  • He may have damaged His Father's Rock.
  • He transfigured something that burns, specifically so that it would do so.
  • He has committed himself to a course of action fundamentally at odds with participating in society in any reasonable fashion.

The transfiguration is probably the worst on the list, really. If Harry is lucid at the end of this chapter I expect there will be so... (read more)

He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.

Not that it were very important, but actually Harry told Dumbledore to keep the patronus secret, not the other way around.

[-]ikrase170

Also, merely seeing the Patronus isn't the problem. Understanding it is.

2Fhyve
And knowing what it can do - killing a dementor, which they didn't see, though someone might be able to figure out that his super patronus is the reason why dementors are afraid of him.
2ikrase
Actually, even knowing what it can do doesn't break the mundane patronus.
[-]Jurily180

I actually expected Harry to cast the Killing Curse as a last ditch desperation/rage effort. He knew what it does, has seen the wand movements and pronounciation (in the Dementor dream), knew and had the required state of mind. That should be enough to cast it, as per Ch26 ("He is in his sixth year at Hogwarts and he cast a high-level Dark curse without knowing what it did.").

6BlackNoise
Harry may have had the mood, but there's doubt about the Power, and there's also been multiple foreshadows of how broken low-level spells are, and a recent mention that he's he can't stop himself from noticing them. Hence "censors off".
0ikrase
Is the Killing Curse even difficult or costly in mana?
0Sheaman3773
Alastor Moody (ala Onegl Pebhpu, We.) in Goblet of Fire.
1ikrase
That's... interesting. Incidentally, I'm not sure how broken elementary charms are in combat other than Transfiguration, and being particularly deadly with Transfiguration without killing yourself requires... not neccesarily Quirrel levels of mana, but some pretty fast transfiguration. It was always my perception that 1. In Azkaban, Harry had almost cast AK on Bellatrix and Quirrel and 2. Before Mad-eye explained that AK is homing and penetrates walls, that it had to be a fairly easy curse compared to, say, Fiendfire or a Cutting Charm or the Mass Accelerating Charm.
1Sheaman3773
1) ...huh. I didn't get that impression. I mean, I certainly got the impression that Harry was going to kill them (starting with the auror) but he doesn't know AK, and one thing Harry has never had trouble with was coming up with clever ways of killing. 2) Um. Homing? I guess I can see where you got that impression, but that wasn't my interpretation at all. I thought it just meant that it will continue going on until it hits a soul, off in a straight line (though obviously I was curious about whether it will curve with the Earth, could you drill into the ground and give a pathway up for magma, etc.).
0ikrase
Hmmmm... Let me describe my perceptions of Rationalverse spells... Avada Kedavra: Moderate to fast bolt, at least a little bit homing or auto-targeting (Allegedly the Sumerian Simple Strike 'has a tendency to hit whatever you look at', this might be similar) at souls, penetrates all normal shields, penetrates at least a few inches of mundane material but probably cannot be targeted in a hugely indirect manner, or would be overpowered. If it homed really well, or was both auto-targetting and an instantaneous bolt, nobody would be able to dodge it. Also, I think that AK does not normally do material damage? The big question is: Why use AK rather than any other curse? Even a moderately powerful wizard should be quite lethal, let alone one educated by Dark Lord Verres. Voldemort is creative enough... Reasons I can think of that are actually stated are only that it penetrates shields and walls. If that were the only advantage, there would be no point in it. Incidentally, a certain irrational part of me will not be truly satisfied unless we see the Battle of Hogwarts, HPMOR style. Although it would hard to keep that to a visually exciting level, rather than HPJEV just burning everything...
0Sheaman3773
Moderate to fast bolt seems reasonable. I don't really see it as homing so much as it tends to fly in the direction that you wish it to, without the ability to adjust its flightpath. It seems that it penetrates all shields, period. Also all materials, period. I mean, I don't get how you can see And think that it would only penetrate a few inches. I'm not saying that Moody is necessarily being completely truthful (though the silence of everyone else in the room is evidence to either truth or preestablished falsehoods) but from what he said, it looks like throwing up a rock or placing a suit of armor between you and the bolt wouldn't actually work. Those kinds of blocks worked in canon, and it did damage the objects. It just doesn't hurt what it hits when said object has a soul. Hugely indirect? Do you mean the bolt curving around to target the victim? Or do you mean shooting it from quite a ways away? It's a one-hit kill spell--if your opponent mostly dodges a Cutting Curse, only brushing them a bit, then they'd come away with a small cut. If they mostly dodge an AK, they're still dead. Also being able to ignore any sort of shield or cover--esp in the Rationverse with their much more complex and comprehensive shields--is incredibly helpful. Or at the very least, this is how I see it.
0ikrase
Only a few inches: There is a huge difference between typical house walls and all the walls in the path of several buildings. There is also a difference between that and a large chord of the Earth. (By comparison, modern heavy machine guns may penetrate a whole city block provided they don't hit anything really heavy, man-portable small arms may penetrate several weaker house walls, or some masonry.) Hugely Indirect: If you can shoot Avada Kedavra through a significant chord of the Earth, then it seems like it would be broken. Targetting might be a problem, but for all the uncreativity of Rationalverse wizards, they are not that bad. Power: Of course, we've only seen two lethal fights in the Rationalverse. (Team Weasley against the troll, and Quirrel against an Azkaban Auror). Team Weasley seems to use spells that seem like they would be instantly disabling if not fatal against a human, especially with more mana behind them. However, shields might change that significantly (How do shields interact with material forces? We've only ever seen this once. Most people use shields to protect against personal effect spells!) What about counterspells? (Unclear how this works, seems to care about stamina or mana, but we've never had a good description of them even though high-powered fighters use them a LOT, and Quirrel relies on them exclusively. Quirrel took a while to fight the Auror, but was going for shock, and not fighting anywhere near full strength. Plus he probably had to attack shields to avoid killing the Auror. What about Hypothetical Auror-Level HPEJV? If Harry can transfigure at a rate of 250 grams per second, he will be able to spam Muggle-style kinetic, directed energy, and explosive weapons, especially if he can use physical or magical air protection and armor. These also would benefit from having no audible incantation and a faster time to first impact. (Nothing like Lily Potter shredding Voldemort with a hail of Transfigured recoil-less rounds!) Granted,
0Sheaman3773
I see. I didn't see it as "it will go through a wall," I saw it as "once it is fired, it will go through anything, and keep on going through it until it hits a soul." Which even on reflection appears to be the more correct interpretation, but that is just my view. ...you don't think that they are that bad, that they could not figure out how to hit a moving target, with a projectile a few inches across, moving slow enough that it can be dodged within a few meters, without the ability to adjust the projectile midflight, through a significant chord of the Earth, when their highest math is apparently trigonometry (ch6)? From the tidbits we've heard about dueling and fighting, yes, shields change that considerably. Could you go into detail about how he could spam these things? I'm quite interested in the concept :)
0ikrase
I guess not a significant chord of the earth, but AK-sniping through huge amounts of intervening material still seems like something that would happen. Spammable Transfigured Muggle Weaponry: This could work a LOT of ways. All of these involve breaking McGonagall's Rules of Transfiguration, but could be made safe for the weapon-user and bystanders using various tricks such as transfiguring (maybe partial transfiguration) them out of very small objects, transfiguring them out of water or other nontoxic substances, or using magical or mundane air protection. Many of these might merit some way to easily provide transfiguration feedstock to one's wand. HPEJV might wrap a strip of duct tape around the end of his wand and transfigure tiny parts of it at a time. * It may be possible to transfigure matter in motion or radiation in flight (Fuzzy line!). If so, then hypothetical Harry with a rate of 1 kg/s can generate over 50 petawatts in beam power. (This would probably be fatal.). * Even if not, than Harry might Transfigure very small beam generation units, primed to fire, and let them fall away (or Finite them) as soon as they have fired. For example, one might transfigure a unit consisting of a super-radioactive (half-life in milliseconds) isotope and beam collimation assembly, or a laser rod in the process of firing from pre-charged capacitors. These devices would do their work as they either fall away or are suspended by telekinesis or some kind of frame. * Alternatively, one could simply transfigure Muggle weapons. McGonagall claims that Muggle guns are not too effective against a good wizard, but she probably is talking about normal small arms. Gyrojet (rocket) weapons or ones that work on the recoil-less rifle principle generate no recoil. Harry could transfigure a stripped-down multi-rocket-launcher or heavy Gyrojet machine pistol right into his hand, fire the entire magazine in less than a second, drop it, and transfigure another. I suspect that even Quir
1taelor
I thought this as well.

Or has Dumbledore found it so useful to carry a large rock around that "get a big rock, keep it with you at all times" is in the top five things he'd tell his younger self if he ever got the chance? Seriously -- the fuck?

The obvious interpretation of this is that spellcasting is a skill like any other, and practice develops it. By giving Harry an implausibly large object to carry, and then having him interact with the Transfiguration professor, Dumbledore can be fairly confident that Harry will try to transfigure the rock into something more reasonable to have in constant physical contact with him. This constant transfiguration practice will help Harry level up his abilities, and a huge rock is predictably useful in combat situations.

Here's a short list of rules violations:

He also showed off his unique partial transfiguration trick during combat, which Dumbledore was hoping he would save for the Final Battle.

1Fhyve
Only if they autopsy the troll and figure out it was transfiguration and not something else. But I'm pretty sure Quirrellmort already knows Harry can do that.

He threw the troll's head over the wall, so its well away from anyone who could breathe in the gases, and a simple bubble-head charm should solve the problem. Given that the alternative was being eaten, he won't be punished for it (also, the most important thing is keeping partial transfiguration secret - other students would be told that Dumbledore killed the troll).

The twins were going to try to rescue Hermione anyway.

The twins will probably agree to keep the patronus secret.

While Harry and the twins did break a rule which was said to result in expulsion, they did almost save Hermione, which is more that the staff did. Expelling them would lose even more face then failing to follow through on a threat of expulsion would. Maybe McGonnigal will admit that when it comes to military matters, her students know more then she does. Maybe in future emergencies the 7th year generals will be able to countermand the orders of professors.

[EDIT: formatting]

5loserthree
-Downvoted for poor formatting.- -Please use carriage returns to separate your thoughts.- Edit: Thanks! (Upvoted for responding.)
3fractalman
Trolls already use continuous transformation on themselves; to find a needle in a haystack with a magnent, you first have to suspect there is a needle. Harry's partial transfiguration attempt(did that happen or...?) is probably more like a needle in a haystack of troll-magic. The only people who I think could spot it without knowing what they're looking for...already know about partial transfiguration. Edit: and then Dumbledore finite's the acid to prevent transfig. sickness. any chance of anyone else figuring it out by looking at the magic involved will be looking for a needle without a magnent.
1skeptical_lurker
You would suspect that something strange happened (worthy of an autopsy) if a first year killed a troll... unless of course he just snapped his fingers :)
3Fhyve
There is no way Harry would get expelled. He is at Hogwarts for his protection - to be close to Dumbledore - not so that he can go to school.
2skeptical_lurker
Indeed! But they would also want his non-expulsion to be plausible without revealing how important he is, nor do they want Fred and George to be expelled. I think McGonnigal is going to have to lose face here.
7Skeeve
I think that in the aftermath of Hermione's death, Harry's breaking the rules and leaving the Great Hall is barely even going to be a blip on the radar. I'd be surprised if McGonagall even brings it up. It seems too callous for her.
2ChristianKl
McGonnigal doesn't have the power to expulse students by her own decision anyway. That decision has to be made by Dumbledore.
3Dentin
I can't imagine that Harry, after having been through this event, gives even one iota of a shit about any of those things. When you declare war on the underlying fabric of reality, petty things like dark wizards, magical castles, and star systems really just aren't relevant in the grand scheme of things.
5[anonymous]
That's easy to say if you're not in the heat of battle. Declaring war on the fabric of reality has a lot more to it than simply ignoring its footsoldiers, and doing so is a bad strategy. An unfortunate (or possibly fortunate?) feature of the current fabric of reality is that super-sentiment doesn't give you super-power.
-1loserthree
If you can read things like, "He may have damaged His Father's Rock." and not realize that it's not to be taken seriously-- Actually, that's an unfair assumption. You might be ignoring the humor intentionally. I don't know to what end you would do so, but that doesn't mean you don't. I'd like to hear how that tool works out for you, if it does much, if you don't mind. If you are blind to the humorous intent then I don't really have anything to tell you about it that you don't already know. I'm sure that if that were the case that you'd already be aware that people pity you.
3robryk
I wouldn't worry about transfiguration sickness: breathing sulphuric acid i